The Independent Corrupt Practices and other Related Offences Commission (ICPC), as well as the Economic And Financial crimes Commission (EFCC), yesterday, tasked the incoming lawmakers to be avoid corruption pitfalls in their legislative duties.
The anti-graft agency specifically highlighted the areas of oversight functions, contract award and soliciting appointments into public offices for their constituency members.
Chairmen of the ICPC and the EFCC, Ekpo Nta and Ibrahim Lamorde respectively charged the Lawmakers at the induction certificate course organized for newly elected lawmakers from the Houses of Assembly, in Abuja.
Nta said that lobbying and recommendations from legislators on contract awards and public office appointments constitute abuse of public office for private gain.
Nta told the lawmakers to leave the responsibility of the award of contracts and appointments for the executive as it was their statutory duties to which there are laws guiding the conduct.
However, Nta said that he is not threatening the lawmakers, but brefing them on some areas they need to be careful with while performing their duties, considering the many requests and much pressure that will come from members of their constituencies.
“As members of the National Assembly, you will be under very severe pressure to undermine all the provisions of the laudable laws you have passed or will pass.
“Your constituencies will remind you constantly that you are here through their votes and that in return, you must fund all their future marriages, naming ceremonies, burials, provision of scholarships, potable water and electricity, jobs in selected government offices either as your PA or full time employment.
“All the roads leading to your communities must be tarred, and if already tarred provided with street lights, sponsor medical treatments abroad or locally. How do you intend to fund all these activities? The answer is yours to provide. How you can avoid all these? Hold all the agencies that should provide social services strictly accountable by demanding accountability and openness”, he said.
“it is the position of the law that the lawmakers themselves made and made certain Acts punishable under the law and we are not the one who will punish.
“We simply present the facts to the court that this is what has happened in this instance, and the court will decide whether we were right or they were right in doing it.
“What I’m saying is that I’m giving you an advise now, if you take that advise, we will remain friends, but if you don’t take that advise and do things which under the law are not correct, we will now have to invite you to come and address us on petitions we have received in respect of an infraction.”
Also, Lamorde who was represented by the Deputy Director , Public Affairs, Osita Nwajah said the EFCC might not wait for petition to take step against any public official including the lawmaker if it noticed that they were living above their means.
According to him, it will be easy for the EFCC to move into such a situation without petitions since the income of legislators is no secret.